Today's Remnants vs. Remnants game began in The Builders Arms (now under new ownership and well worth a post-match visit) as Daniel and Andy set about selecting two teams and, more importantly, two team names. Given that it was to be Andy Bell's final game as a Remnants regular, the obvious thing was to name the teams after him and, after a pint of black lager and pale ale (respectively), they settled on Andy's Followers (to be captained by Andy, natch) and the titter-worthy Bell's Ends (to be captained by, less obviously, Daniel). After some pre-match confusion with replacements, drop-outs and bonus attendees we finally had everything sorted out and set about playing some actual cricket (and drinking more beer).
Andy's Followers batted first and started brilliantly, with Jacob Pockney (43 off 28 balls) and Michael McCann (26 off 24 balls) taking them to 63/0 in the 7th (six-ball) over. The bowling had looked decidedly unthreatening, but a double change worked a treat: Daniel Mortlock (0/12) slowed the scoring (his first 3 overs going for just 3 runs); and Remnants first-timer Sophia Pearson (1/30) made the vital breakthrough, having Michael nicely caught by Eli Ellwood at cover - and she almost had a second wicket when Geoff Hales made a great attempt to take a diving catch at mid-wicket, but he couldn't quite hang on. (That Sophia, who spends most of her time playing proper cricket with the Cambridgeshire U17 girls team, was playing for us at all was something of an anomaly: Shoaib Shahid had responded to an e-mail calling for players by suggesting his enigmatic friend Ben Jose, who had also been down to play once last season but is yet to be sighted; but when Ben dropped out Sophia dropped in, becoming the 392nd person to play for Remnants in its 933 matches.) Sophia was also looking forward to bowling at Shoaib (0 off 3 balls), and was immediately told to warm up for a second spell when he came out to bat; but, unfortunately, such is his fear of Sophia's outswingers, that he hit a tame catch to Dave Williams before she got her chance. The bowler in this instance was John Moore (3/21), who completely turned the game on its head, with a catch and a run out as well to be involved in all but one of the wickets to fall. By the time John was finished Andy's Followers had undone all their early good work, and it was only some late hitting by Richard Young (16 off 24 balls), Joe White (15 off 15 balls) and Olly Rex (33* off 29 balls) that got them to the competitive total of 147/6 off their non-regulation 22 overs.
At the innings changeover we had the traditional club photo, albeit a new-fangled high-tech version. Helen Norman was dragged away from reading Fifty Shades Of Grey to take a tricky panorama shot using John Moore's fancy new iPhone, the impressive result of which can be seen below. We also had a brief speech to announce that the proceeds from this evening's game would be going to charity, specifically the Papworth Hospital which had been so amazing in treating Remnants legend Russell Woolf this year. Russ himself wasn't able to make it 'til later, but the most important thing was that we were able to raise £253.50 for this incredibly good cause, and Papworth's thank you letter appears at the bottom of this report.
The Bell's Ends were also Bell's Starts, in the send that Andy, of course, got to open the batting. (He was to have been opening with daughter Colette, but she hadn't been able to make it, so John Richer was his partner instead.) Andy got a decent 15 (off 22 balls) before playing over the top of a well-flighted leggie from Shoaib Shahid (2/21). Add in top spells by Paul Jordan (1/31), Faruk Kara (0/10), Phil Watson (0/18) and Joe White (1/6), and it seemed the Bell's Ends were going nowhere: after 11 overs they were 48/4, meaning an even 100 needed from just 54 balls.
It's at this point that it probably should be mentioned that the Bell's Ends included Dave Norman amongst their numbers, and he came in a few overs later. After a scratchy start - he was, largely thanks to some fiery bowling by Joe, restricted to just 3 off his first 7 balls and 12 off his first 15 - normal service was resumed. Dave reached his half-century off just 37 deliveries, at which point it's also worth mentioning that Andy and Daniel had, almost on a whim, decided that we should have retirement at 50. And so, just when it seemed Dave was going to take his side to a comfortable victory, a decision made in the pub three hours earlier brought the game to life again. With 26 needed off 16 balls the advantage was probably with Andy's Followers . . . but then Dave Williams (34* off 30 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (19* off 9 balls) went on a mini-rampage. The game did go down to the last of its 44 overs - really, who could hope for more? - but Dave finished things off with a big boundary and 3 balls to spare.
After that we sat around and enjoyed the warm evening, one of the longest of the year. After all the beer was drunk we gave Andy Bell a fitting send-off at The Tandoori Palace (which had won in a close vote against Cocum).